Jakob Fleck, Luise Fleck, Walter Kolm-Veltée

T. alt.: Ihre tollste Nacht. Scen.: Fred Teller, Siegfried Tisch. F.: Willy Hameister. Scfg.: Max Heilbronner, Bohumil Hes. Mus.: Max Niederberger. Canzoni: Fred Heller, Stephan Goll, Siegfried Tisch. Int.: Max Hansen (dottor Helwing), Irene von Zilahy (Dolly), Tibor von Halmay (l’ispettore), Hans Olden (Fred-Monocolo), Trude Bienert (la domestica), Max Schipper (il barista). Prod.: Terra Film. DCP. Bn.

Foto © Willy Ströminger

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Right at the beginning, a song celebrating the joys provided by different alcoholic drinks sets the tone. Csárdás   is a love letter to the benefits of irreverence and to the pleasures provided by the jazz and booze-fuelled urban nightlife that emerged in major European cities throughout the 1920s – the very type of entertainment culture that official Nazi cultural policy tried its best to stifle in Germany. In this case, the night on the town is initiated by a woman: Dolly (Irene von Zilahy) talks her husband, Dr Helwing (Max Hansen), into taking her out. What’s more, to escape conjugal ennui, he is supposed to act as if he does not know her. As the couple visit a series of colourful establishments, highlights include a ride on a ghost train, a particularly frantic impromptu dance performed by Dolly, and finally, an involuntary visit to the police station. Meanwhile, the Helwing residence does not stay empty: a gang of thieves, headed by master con artist Monocle-Fred (Hans Olden), invades their home and shows no intention of leaving soon.
Csárdás, shot at Barrandov Studios in Prague, is the last German-language film of Max Hansen, one of German cinema’s biggest stars of the early 1930s, who continued his career in Sweden and Denmark afterwards. Directorial duties were taken over by a family team: the already well-established husband-and-wife team Jakob and Luise Fleck was joined by Walter Kolm-Veltée, Luise’s son from a previous marriage. Their collaboration resulted in one of the last successful attempts to keep the free-wheeling, hedonistic spirit of late Weimar-era sound cinema alive.

Lukas Foerster

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